The Canadian government is ready to legislate the end of the Canadian Pacific Railway strike that began earlier today “if necessary,” according to a report.
Labor Minister Lisa Raitt wouldn’t say when the government would propose back-to-work legislation, according to Canadian Business. CP service in Canada, not within the U.S., was suspended after railroad management and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference failed to agree to a contract before the midnight Tuesday deadline.
"This morning I have already put on notice a bill to ensure that we are in the position to be able to introduce legislation," Raitt said Wednesday. "We want to make sure the effect on the economy is being brought to people's attention and that we're keeping it in mind as it proceeds."
The strike, which affects freight rail not commuter service, could cost the Canadian economy $540 million a week, Raitt told CB.
“The best solution is always the one that the parties reach themselves,” said Raitt. “I urge the parties to resume negotiations and work diligently to reach negotiated agreements or agree to submit to a binding process to settle their disputes.”
Railroad management and the TCRC, the union representing 4,800 engineers, conductors and rail traffic controllers, resumed earlier this morning.
"We have made every reasonable effort to get a settlement,” said Doug Finnson, TCRC vice president. “Every union member knows how important the outstanding issues are. We will not walk away from the negotiation table."
TCRC is trying to stop CP from shifting workers to a cheaper pension plan, and the union also said fatigue management issues haven’t been fully addressed. The railroad said changes need to be made to the legacy pensions and post-retirement benefits to make CP competitive with other railroads. CP contributed about $1.9 billion of solvency deficit contributions to its pension plan in the last three years.